I had a few conversations yesterday that were very thought-provoking. They made me think about the concept of fear, and how my view of fearful events, situations, etc., has changed over the past 4-ish years.
When I first (unknowingly) started on this journey, I was so fearful of the unknown. Facing the colonoscopy was, in my head, the worst thing. What was this test that people are so afraid of, that people talk so badly about? I wasn't afraid of the results - ignorance was bliss, in this case. I was terrified of the test, though. They had to put an IV in, they were going to knock me out, stick a camera up my tush, and try to figure out what was causing the occasional bleeding that I was having. I was reassured that they likely wouldn't find anything, and I trusted them. Therefore, my fears were focused on the unknown of the procedure.
Now, after having several more colonoscopies, surgeries, etc., I look back on the fears I had back then and am sort of ashamed of myself. But, I didn't know any better. What's that saying? You don't know how strong you are until that's the only choice you have....yeah. I get that.
I've had to face and endure so many things that I've learned I have strength that I didn't realize was possible.
Fear is something that can paralyze a person. I've seen that in people, and while I try to understand it, I don't know that I can. I appreciate that the fear of the unknown can make a person wary of the future. I try to understand this viewpoint, and to not scoff at those who live their lives in fear of, well, everything.
That sounds so harsh. I don't mean it to be, but I've seen people who have allowed fear to dictate every choice they've made. I struggle with that. If I lived my life in fear of everything that *might* happen, I'd be dead by now.
I wouldn't have done the chemo. I wouldn't have had the surgeries. I wouldn't have pushed to go to CTCA, to try another approach, to do things that people didn't think were possible.
I've said it before - I try to live my life in a manner that provides my children with lessons that will help them make better decisions later on in their lives. I don't know how long I have on this earth, so I have to make every single moment count. I'm not expecting to go anywhere anytime soon; quite the contrary. I fully hope (expect) to outlive every single one of you. :) However, I have to accept the reality that I'm facing a disease that could kill me. Because of that, and because of my absolute dedication to my children, I feel like every decision I make is a teaching moment for them, and I have to live my life in a way that I would hope (expect) them to live their lives.
Does that make sense? Basically, I want to be a good example to my children. I want them to be the best people they can be, and I hope that I can help them to reach that potential. A lot of it will be up to them and to their choices, but how they see me live will fundamentally effect how they live their lives. That impacts every single decision I make in my life.
Back to fear - I don't want my children to be fearful of much. I mean, there's a certain amount of healthy fear. But, when you fear every decision, every result, every idea....that's no way to live.
I've made a very conscious decision to live my life in a manner that look fear in the face and flips it off. I have chosen to acknowledge my fears, but to live my life anyways. I don't want to leave this world with any regrets, and I feel like fear leads to regrets. (That's a very broad statement, and not meant to be all-inclusive....just a generalization.)
I am terrified of what this cancer might do to me. Rather than sitting on my butt, worrying about how this might turn out, I've chosen to continue to live my life inn spite of the cancer. Yes, I have cancer. Tough. I also have an amazing life, and if I'm going to spend the time to fight for my life, I need to, I MUST, do the things that make living this life worthwhile.
I have had the most amazing things happen to me. In the past 10 months, I've been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I've taken chances and been given the most wonderfully fantastic memories. I've traveled in spite of the chemotherapy, and expanded my circle of family and friends in ways I never thought possible. I've met Daughtry and Rodney Atkins (hang on, I'm having a moment....swoon...). I've been given the chance to help other survivors in a multitude of ways. I've been asked to speak to groups and executives, and have (hopefully) had a positive impact on some people.
Fear? Yeah. Fear and I are pretty close. But, in a "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer" kind of way. I like to acknowledge my fears. It helps to put words to them, to talk about them, to realize what they are. And then.....to stomp them into the ground. :)
I hope that you do something today that allows you to go to sleep tonight, knowing you've stomped a fear into the ground. Do something that you didn't think you'd ever do. I challenged a friend recently to do one thing each week that is outside of their box. They have done that, and I see a difference in them. They seem happier, prouder. And, why not? They've stomped fear. They've challenged it, and proved to themselves that they are stronger than they thought.
That's pretty powerful.
My fear for the day? I have my follow-up appointment with my oncologist. Not only am I meeting my new oncologist (and saying good-bye to my old one, which makes me insanely sad), I'll be learning what the game plan is. I have a feeling that I know what the course of action will be, but I am not an oncologist, and they may propose something I'm not expecting.
Yeah - there's quite a bit of fear associated with that.
But....I need to face it head-on in order to live my life. This amazing, wonderfully fascinating, challenging life.